Posted by jj&j (+60) 5 years ago
As someone who is not very versed in the gun law debate I just have a question. I am asking for logical responses, I wish to be educated not bashed. I read an article yesterday about congressman Gabby Giffords and her shooting and ironically last night on the Billings news, the shooting and death of Catherine Woods (whom I knew) was mentioned. Ok so my question is, what is so wrong with gun checks for everyone? I see guns for sale on milescity.com all the time. If a mentally challenged person bought this, ( no you can't tell who is mentally challenged believe me) and then we have a shooting is anyone but the shooter liable. Ok go at it, but I'm really just asking what is wrong with the back ground check for every gun sold.
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Posted by Phil Shifley (+109) 5 years ago
JJ&J very good question, I can try to answer it and have no interest in drawing the typical responses inherent to this forum either.

Your mentioned examples aren't actually relevant to the question because in both cases it "wasn't" a matter of a breakdown in firearms laws or legal requirements. I'm not intimately familiar with the Gifford incident but in both cases the firearms were legally purchased through licensed dealers with all the paperwork "and checks" properly completed. First, neither of your examples were "private sales" which you've asked about or implied, yard/garage sales etc.(non-dealer/unlicensed). Second and most relevant, both of the suspects (and the rest of the citizens of the United States) are protected by laws such as HIPAA and many others that secure our rights to privacy and confidentiality. Both suspects had reportedly been treated at mental institutions but its not legal for the physician or institution to blurt that out to anyone asking. At least in Montana it is illegal for anyone "adjudicated mentally ill" to possess a firearm but at that point the suspect had not been in that classification.

In a nutshell other laws and rights are preventing the firearms laws from working as they were intended. The issue that many people in Montana have with the proposed legislation (that didn't pass) is that all Montanans would forfeit rights to privacy. There is a fear that personal information wouldn't only be used for gun purchase reasons but many other privileged areas. Imagine applying for a job and being turned down because sometime in your past you were prescribed anti-depressants? Is that perspective realistic... not sure, but that's what a lot of people think. Neither one of the suspects should have been able to purchase a firearm but that is not the fault of the person selling them in the mentioned cases.
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Posted by jj&j (+60) 5 years ago
Thank you for your explanation, I appreciate people who explain things in a polite and knowledgeable way.Sounds to be an extremely difficult situation. I have just noticed that several of the shootings in this country, the movie theatre comes to mind, were committed by people who should not have had guns. If you live with a mentally challenged individual or even depressed teens use a gun safe and make sure only you have the combination. Small thing but it might help. I believe that we have some very smart people in this country that if they would put politics aside (ha ha ) could come up with a solution to protect us. Perhaps a web site that is only available to gun stores regarding mental health issues. Then I suppose someone would hack it. Oh well.
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Posted by Bridgier (+8441) 5 years ago
In my perfect world, we would begin to reduce the # of guns in circulation, not necessarily through government mandate, but by making 'gun culture' less of a thing, sort of like the way smoking is becoming less and less socially acceptable. This would be uncomfortable to some, and I realize that but fewer guns == fewer deaths, it's just a matter of statistics.
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Posted by ZZZzz (-556) 5 years ago
Vince Vaughn wrote:
"I support people having a gun in public full stop, not just in your home. We don't have the right to bear arms because of burglars; we have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government. It's not about duck hunting; it's about the ability of the individual. It's the same reason we have freedom of speech.

It's well known that the greatest defense against an intruder is the sound of a gun hammer being pulled back. All these gun shootings that have gone down in America since 1950, only one or maybe two have happened in non-gun-free zones. Take mass shootings. They've only happened in places that don't allow guns. These people are sick in the head and are going to kill innocent people. They are looking to slaughter defenseless human beings. They do not want confrontation.

In all of our schools it is illegal to have guns on campus, so again and again these guys go and shoot up these f***ing schools because they know there are no guns there. They are monsters killing six-year-olds."

Vaughn highlighted a simple notion in his interview: that mass public killers want to commit suicide in a way that will bring them attention. And they know that the more people they can kill, the more publicity they will get. They also know that if they launch their attack where people carry guns, they will quickly be stopped

Vaughn's comments highlight a simple notion: Mass public killers want to commit suicide in a way that will bring them attention. And they know that the more people they can kill, the more publicity they will get. They also know that if they launch their attack where people carry guns, they will quickly be stopped.

Vince Vaughn in GQ UK edition

His statements have further been backed up with the likes of this.

There is ample evidence that in the Columbine and other mass murders,the perpetrators chose gun free zones and even left in writing why they decided on gun free zones for their crimes. It was simple. They did not want to be where any of their intended victims would have firearms.
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Posted by Phil Shifley (+109) 5 years ago
Well…. I can understand that Bridgier but I think the problem truly lies much deeper than that. If my child keeps running into the street I don’t ask the City to close the street, I hold the child accountable and enforce the measures already in place to correct or prevent that behavior, even if it means a butt spanking. That sends a message to the other children too and influences behavior, environment if you will. If we approach it in the anti-gun community manner and try to deprive criminals of the tools they chose we would have to make guns, knives, vehicles, baseball bats, tire irons and pressure cookers illegal, oh… and rocks since the first violent crime in history involved Cain killing Able with one.

The true issue is behavior, our society has systematically diminished the consequences for such, plea bargains, deferred prosecution, reduced sentences, early parole, whatever, even abolishing the death sentence. When a person truly intends to commit an act they will find a way, if the gun is illegal to use or inaccessible…. they don’t care they are a criminal intent on a crime, they will find a rock. The behavior has to stop, not the availability of rocks. Keep in mind someday you may also need that rock to defend yourself too.
I can’t help but think of the old days when there were public hangings, that had to have a profound impact on the viewing public and I’m sure it did. But those consequences are gone and we have an ever increasing population, there “will” be increased crime, guns don’t have anything to do with it. My take is to actually enforce the laws we have in place and don’t deprive the “law abiding populous” of a means of defense.
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Posted by Hannah Nash (+2504) 5 years ago
It is necessary to correct the following information:

the firearms were legally purchased through licensed dealers with all the paperwork "and checks" properly completed.


In the case of Catherine's death, NO, the gun was not legally purchased. The employee at the store destroyed the paperwork because the murderer admitted he was a felon and had checked that box on the form (and would not have been able to purchase the gun that day); the employee CHOSE to circumvent the law, destroy that original paperwork, have the purchaser fill out another form omitting the felon marking, and sold the gun anyways. That employee (and his employer) were held accountable in a legal case. These facts have also been presented before the Montana State Legislature.

In my opinion (after losing cared-for people close to my family to gun violence), making it "not super easy" for certain people to get a hold of firearms is not a bad thing. YES, if a criminal really, really, really wants to commit violence with a gun, they will try and work around the system as best they can---- but I believe it is in our best interests to at least put up a few roadblocks in his/her way; checkpoints, if you will, that don't make the process of illegally getting a firearm super easy. With guns having the ability for a single person to literally mow down a dozen people in one minute-- I think we need to have an effective, intelligent, practical discussion about the dangers of firearms and the multi-faceted approach needed to curb violence.
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Posted by cubby (+2577) 5 years ago
Well said Hannah.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+10501) 5 years ago
It would help if we didn't see guns as toys and ways to shore up uncertain manhood but tools with specific uses that can be dangerous and should never be treated casually.
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Posted by Oddjob (+186) 5 years ago
Reply to Hannah Nash (#360482)
Hannah Nash wrote:
It is necessary to correct the following information:

the firearms were legally purchased through licensed dealers with all the paperwork "and checks" properly completed.


In the case of Catherine's death, NO, the gun was not legally purchased. The employee at the store destroyed the paperwork because the murderer admitted he was a felon and had checked that box on the form (and would not have been able to purchase the gun that day); the employee CHOSE to circumvent the law, destroy that original paperwork, have the purchaser fill out another form omitting the felon marking, and sold the gun anyways. That employee (and his employer) were held accountable in a legal case. These facts have also been presented before the Montana State Legislature.


I have been unable to find anything about this other than the remand of Woods v Steadman's Hardware back to State court after the Defendant tried to get the case elevated to Federal Court.

Has this been finalized? Have the allegations on the gun sale ever been proven to be true? Seems to me if that happened, somebody should have gone to jail.
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Posted by Hannah Nash (+2504) 5 years ago
The case was settled with judgement. I don't know if it was sealed or not. My apologies on that, Oddjob.

There were significant penalties against Steadman's and the employee (but no jail time to my knowledge). There are portions still pending, I believe.
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Posted by Oddjob (+186) 5 years ago
So this was a civil suit against Steadman's and no criminal charges were ever brought concerning an illegal gun sale?
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